1938 Talbot-Lago T23 Baby Coach Grand Luxe

1938 Talbot-Lago T23 Baby Coach Grand Luxe

In 1934 Tony Lago was promoted to the position of general manager of Automobiles Talbot's. A year later he acquired the company and hired Walter Brecchia, an engineer. Together, they began work on the first Talbot-Lago; they were driven by the desire to create the world's greatest sports car. The engine created was a four-liter unit that was similar to the Talbot-Darracq Type K78, three-liter, seven main bearing six-cylinder engine. The Talbot-Lago engine had a hemispherical head design featuring a new cylinder head that improved volumetric efficiency and air flow. With the help of dual Solex carburetors, the engine produced 140 horsepower.

Backed by the company and the competition engine, Lago approached the racing legend, Rene Dreyfus with a proposition to manage his new racing team. Miraculously, he accepted. At the French Grand Prix at Montlhery, Lago's request was simple, 'stay ahead of the Bugattis for as long as you can.' Though the request may have been simple, the task was monumental but not impossible. At the conclusion of the race, the three Talbot-Lagos had finished and in respectable style. All were in the top ten and had provided competition for the Bugatti's throughout most of the race, only being slowed near the end due to mechanical difficulties.

The following year at the French Grand Prix, the Talbot-Lagos showed their true potential by finishing first, second, third and fifth. The racing variants had proven their merit but it was the road going versions that paid the bills. Talbot-Lago vehicles were renowned for their style and attractive bodyshells. The wheelbases varied as did the engines which was available in three- or four-liter configuration.

This example is one of the most sought-after postwar touring models from Talbot-Lago: as the T23 Lago Special, the Grand Luxe coach benefited from the same superb bodywork inspired by Figoni, with the very original semi-fast back shape, and had been built at only about 50 examples. An elegant two-door "coach" version built on the short-wheelbase chassis, also known as the "Lago Baby", it is fitted with the 115 bhp 4-litre Grand Sport engine, distinguished by its twin carburettors. It is therefore a resolutely sporting model, which its Wilson preselector gearbox makes all the more pleasant to drive. This example left the factory in 1938

Descriptions & pictures by conceptcarz & artcurial

Production Start 1938
Country of origin France